The authors describe risk factors and suicide rates during the year following discharge from mental health emergency department (ED) visits by adults with suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, or neither.
National cohorts of patients with mental health ED visits for suicide attempts or self-harm (n=55,323), suicidal ideation (n=435,464), or other mental health visits (n=9,144,807) from 2008–2018 Medicaid data were followed for suicide for 1 year after discharge. Suicide rates per 100,000 person-years were determined from National Death Index data. Poisson regression models, adjusted for age, sex, and race/ethnicity, estimated suicide rate ratios (RR). Suicide standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were estimated from National Vital Statistics System data.
Suicide rates per 100,000 person-years were 325.4 for suicide attempt or self-harm visits (RR=5.51, 95%CI:4.64–6.55), 156.6 for suicidal ideation visits (RR=2.59, 95%CI:2.34–2.87), and 57.0 for the other mental health ED visits (1.0, reference). Compared to expected suicide general population rates, SMRs were 18.2 (95%CI:13.0–23.4) for suicide attempt or self-harm patients, 10.6 (95%CI:9.0–12.2) for suicidal ideation patients, and 3.2 (95%CI:3.1–3.4) for other ED mental health patients. Among patients with suicide attempt ED visits in the 180 days before their index mental health ED visit, suicide rates per 100,000 person-years were 687.2 (95% CI:396.5–978.0) for attempt or self-harm visits, 397.4 (95%CI: 230.6–564.3) for ideation visits, and 328.4 (95%CI:241.5–415.4) for other mental health visits.
In the year following discharge, emergency department patients with suicide attempts or self-harm, especially repeated attempts, have a high risk of suicide.